Days of rain raise fears of flooding along Yangtze

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am


Torrential rains have pounded much of the drought-plagued regions along the Yangtze River in the past few days, bringing much-needed relief but also raising fears of flooding.

Central, eastern and southern provinces, including Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui, Zhejiang and Guizhou, have been hit by persistent downpours since Friday, with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) forecasting yesterday that the rain would continue for at least three days.

'The drought will be over this month,' CMA head Zheng Guoguang was quoted by China National Radio as saying.

By yesterday, the amount of drought-afflicted farmland along the river had fallen by more than 1.46 million hectares, or nearly 40 per cent, and the number of residents whose drinking water had been affected had fallen by 44 per cent to 2.15 million, according to the national flood control and drought relief headquarters.

Also, big lakes along the Yangtze River, including Poyang Lake and Hong Lake, which saw their water levels drop last month to the lowest points in nearly six decades, were boosted after the rains.

However, Zheng warned the deluge could trigger flooding in some central and southern areas.

Torrential rains have already caused floods in several cities in the central province of Hunan, where at least 600,000 people have been affected.

Also, Guizhou in the southwest saw nearly 71,200 of its residents affected by floods over the weekend.

In the province's Wangmo county, the level of the Wangmo River rose three metres above the safe level, causing massive flooding that destroyed houses, cut power and halted traffic.


Number of hectares of farmland still affected by drought

- About 4,300 people died across the mainland in floods last year